KHSC commemorates World Prematurity Day

News / Pediatric Care
By John Pereira

City Hall and NICU to be lit purple as part of international event

Each year more than 15 million babies are born premature and one million of those children die as a result of complications due to their pre-term birth. On Friday, Kingston Health Sciences Centre will be taking part in World Prematurity Day to bring attention to the importance of neonatal medicine and to celebrate the role staff, physicians and families play in caring for our smallest patients.

Starting at 6:00 p.m. teams from our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) along with former patients and families will gather outside Kingston City Hall as Town Crier Chris Whyman declares November 17 World Prematurity Day in Kingston. City Hall will be lit purple, joining other monuments around the world in recognition of this important cause.

The group will then move from City Hall to Breakwater Park, across from our KGH site, as our NICU is also lit up in purple - the official colour of World Prematurity Day. 

"We've celebrated World Prematurity Day for the last few years in the NICU, but this year's event will be much bigger and more public," says Head of Pediatrics Dr. Bob Connelly. "Our teams do amazing, life saving work, which means that families can receive care closer to home during this stressful time of their lives. We are one of the few level 3 NICUs in Ontario and we want to build awareness and support in our community as we look to construct a new space as part of our Phase 2 Redevelopment project."

Staff, patients and families in the NICU will be marking all day as they dress in purple. However, the event won't just be limited to that area of the hospital.

"We're asking everyone from KHSC to join us in wearing purple and to attend our event at City Hall. Teams who provide care to our NICU graduates, such as the Children's Outpatient Centre at HDH will be involved, but we want to extend this even further and include everyone at both KHSC sites," says Kerri-Lee Bisonette, Manager of Pediatrics.

Leaders across the organization will also be handing out World Prematurity Day and Preemie Power stickers that have generously been provided by the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation.

"As we raise funds as part of our Phase 2 Redevelopment project we want to demonstrate to the community how important our hospitals are to the quality of life we enjoy in Kingston," says Denise Cumming, CEO of the UHKF. "Events like this allow us celebrate our expert health-care teams along with our patients and families in a very public way."

"It doesn't matter if you work in the NICU or Pediatrics, or in an important support service such as Environmental Services, Labs or Nutrition Services. Every single person at KHSC plays an important role in the care we provide to our young patients," says Connelly. "We can't do what we do without the help of our coworkers across both of our HDH and KGH sites, so we hope everyone can join us in marking this special occasion."